Cracker Box Canvas + Secret Messages

This is the story of how a lowly cracker box became a canvas and eventually a collage…

This is a really easy technique and works very well if you are planning on doing some collaging or if you are painting and don’t mind a little texture under your design. First, you cover a box (I used a cracker box) with tape sealing all the edges and covering the side that will eventually become the front of your collage. You could tape the back too but I didn’t want to use extra tape to cover a part that would not be seen. I did tape the sides since I planned to paint those.

I used a clear duct tape but blue painters tape also works well.



Don’t worry about the color if you do use painters tape because the next step is giving your soon-to-be canvas a generous coating of gesso. I could still see some of the box printing after one coat but for my purposes that was fine.  You could give it another coat if you wanted. I also used a brush that would leave nice texture in the gesso. The biggest “issue” which wasn’t an issue for me is that you can see the lines where your tape meets. Not a big deal if you are collaging or layering things on the canvas.



Now that I had my canvas, the fun really began. I can’t explain this craziness except to say that I just went where it led me and this was the result… The zig-zaggy design is rolled up book pages held with washi tape. Inside each roll is a secret message or word (secret because I’m the only one who knows what they say!)  Then each little roll was glued to the canvas. To read them you would literally need to destroy the piece.






To make this I played with: book pages, magazine pages, sheet music, washi tape, acrylic paints, sharpie, pencil, stamps and ink.

Postscript: I want to make sure I give credit where credit is due. The idea to write notes inside rolled up paper came to me from a LifeBook 2013 project by Tamara LaPorte. The great thing about programs like LifeBook is you learn techniques and ideas you can then alter to make your own!



  1. Gorgeous! What a clever idea.

  2. Wishing there was a LOVE button right now! What an incredible idea! I am definately going to give this a go. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Thanks! The whole project from start to finish was a lot of fun 🙂

      1. It looked fun!! Can’t wait to give it a try:)

  3. I’m curious to know if you write down the secret message anywhere like in a journal so as not to forget what it is in years to come!?!

    1. I probably should! But I didn’t 🙂 There are really only 4 words/messages repeated over and over so hopefully I won’t forget them.

  4. I love the idea of the hidden words and messages. Great looking piece!

    1. Got to give credit to Tam at LifeBook because I got the idea for the messages from one of her lessons. I thought it was brilliant and something that could be adapted for use in many different ways.

  5. This is SO cool!! I love the secret message idea. I like to journal sometimes and cover it up with something. Feels freeing to get stuff out that nobody can see. But now I want to know what yours says! LOL. Love it.

    1. Thanks Carly! I like the idea of journaling and then covering it up. As for what mine say….I’ll never tell! 😉

  6. Very cool! A fun idea and a great looking piece!

  7. […] Michelle @ Year of Living Craftily and her Cracker Box Canvas:  My bloggy friend, Michelle made this homemade canvas the other day out of a cracker box, duct tape, and gesso. Brilliant!  So cheap, and what a good story that makes!  Not only is that such a savvy idea, what she did after making the canvas was awesome too.  I’ll just tell you it involves secret spy messages.  […]

  8. Cynthia Lee · · Reply

    I love everything about this! The secret messages, reusing book pages, the dimension, recycling boxes. This would even be a great idea for an art club.

    1. Thanks so much Cynthia! I appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. […] started out as another “secrets type” of project made out of a cracker box (you can visit here for info on that project.) But it quickly became evident that this was going to go in another […]

  10. […] Cracker Box Canvas […]

  11. […] Cracker Box Canvas […]

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